Tuesday, February 28, 2017

FULL SPEECH: President Donald Trump Speech to Joint Session Of Congress ...

I grew up watching these presidential addresses because I was a freak who enjoyed politics at a very young age. My earliest political memories were of giggling at Carl Albert nodding off behind Nixon and Ford. (Paul Ryan is more alert.)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscar 2017 Fail - Warren Beatty announces wrong Best Picture Winner

A symbol of the sloppy times.

Art versus PC at the Oscars

I was kind of scared to turn on the Oscars tonight, in dread of the expected onslaught of anti-Trump sentiment. So far, it's been tolerable. On Twitter, though, the expected kudos to Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight." One Tweeter wrote: "A black man. A Muslim. In a film about the life & struggles of a young gay man. Hell, yeah." I offhandedly tweeted back: "Yup, checked all the PC boxes."

But, more importantly, were the words of Ali himself in his acceptance speech: "It's not about you. It's about these characters. You're in service to the story and these characters." EXACTLY. THAT is what art and movies should be about. Not the trendy, PC stance of that year. Real art and acting should transcend any particular time period, should reveal the human soul (corny as that sounds).

"Moonlight" sounds like a moving, good movie. Because of its screenplay and sensitive acting and humanity, not because it features a black character or a gay character or stars a Muslim. Those "PC boxes" have nothing to do with art.

And as Viola Davis just said in her speech for Best Supporting Actress for "Fences": "We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life." Thank you to the best actors in the field for being seers and channelers. Not because you're black or gay or Muslim, but because you're--sans any "boxes" or PC identity politics--incredibly sensitive and alert to what it means to be a human, to live a life.

I will never let the PC leftists take the Oscars, or the movies, away from me. I've known since I was a kid what, exactly, movies really mean.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Running on Empty (1988) - "Fire and Rain" scene

Really, really bad acting. I caught this last night on TCM. Looked it up the next day solely because of River Phoenix, was surprised to learn that it had actually gotten an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. I caught about the last two-thirds of it, and most all (aside from Phoenix himself) was forced and embarrassing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"They're not on my side."

A little inner voice that spoke to me back when I was 12 or so, re my parents. I was in our living room in Azle, Texas. I heard it clearly. (Note that it wasn't "They're not on YOUR side" --- it wasn't an outside voice. It was MY voice.) I felt momentarily relieved because of that moment of clarity: I wasn't crazy for feeling the bad vibes from my parents. I just, in a flash, realized that neither of them gave a shit about me. Knowing such a thing is simultaneously horrifying and liberating.

Two other times that "voice" has visited me:

(1) Staying with my mom at her new house in Austin when I didn't have a place to live after NYC. I'd spent 6 hours that day unpacking her boxes while she was back at her old house in San Antonio, cleaning. When she got home, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing freelance work. The first thing she asked me: "Did you look for bus-stops today?" She's not on my side.

(2) And just the other day: An acquaintance (formerly someone I was in love with) called me at work to bitch about Trump. (She and her daughters know nothing about politics, but they're from River Oaks in Houston, and all of their friends are, therefore, Sanders/Clinton/anti-Trump.) The Trump stuff was irritating but still tolerable. The tipping point came when I interrupted the anti-Trump diatribe to mention that I'd just been given a raise that very day. I was so excited! Now I could get a better place sans roof leaks! The acquaintance wasn't happy for me. I tried to explain, "But now I can move! Now I can get a better place..." Her response: "Yeah, I saw that on your blog. Your roof leaked five times...."

My blood ran cold. She's not on my side.

Monday, February 20, 2017


I hardly ever dream about my father, abusive as he was. I dream about my mother probably once a month: I'm always screaming in anger or terror in the dreams. I'm always drained and horrified when I wake up from these. Always. 9.8 out of 10 dreams with my mother, I wake up emotionally drained and/or horrified because I've been screaming. The most disturbing was the knowledge in the dream that I was a baby and screaming and screaming.

Christmas Eve this year: I arrived at my mother's house with 2 bags of gifts for mom, brother/wife and their kids.

The second I walked in, my mother got agitated: "Where's your car? Where's your car? Where's your car? Where's your car? Where's your car?" (Um... "I parked down the street because other people were parked in front of your house." But despite that common-place explanation, still: "Where's your car? Where's your car? Where's your car?")

I couldn't take another second of it. I dropped off my bags o' gifts, said "This is bullshit," and walked out... and drove off in the allegedly non-existent car.

What was my mother thinking? That I no longer had my car that I'd just purchased for myself back in July? If that were the case, then how did I get to her house? It was clear that it was Christmas Eve and that the streets were filled with other relatives parking their cars up and down the street... Therefore, my "I parked down the street because other people were parked in front of your house" was a perfectly reasonable explanation. What then brought on the weirdness?

Mental illness brought on the "weirdness." And I had my fill of it at that exact moment. Enough.

This past Christmas, I bought 5 people presents. I got no presents, or a "thank-you," from anyone in return. Fuck the 3 adults (sorry, nephews).

A couple of good things that come with a raise.

Well, more than "a couple." I have my car, and a chance at a better place to live, because of my job and my boss's recognition of my work.

Overall: I can buy whatever books and CDs on Amazon I want (usually used---I still have the poor-person's habit: Why buy brand new when used is nearly as good?). I also now feel like I can order exactly what I want from a fast-food restaurant rather than relying on their "value menu" (i.e., spending $8 rather than $6).

In truth, I could probably branch out beyond the above. It still feels kind of scary to, though. My $100 Joan Crawford shower curtain purchased a couple of years ago was already radical enough, after years of temping in NYC and Austin and having only a $5 liner for a curtain.

I'm always aware that I can never relax completely: Things can go bad at any time. BUT... Sometimes there's a break in the waves and you CAN indeed relax a little... You can, really?

Only 70 days left on my lease!

I hate calling my current apartment of 2 years a shit-hole, because I don't hate it. It's not the apartment's fault. It was spacious enough for me (just under 800-sq-ft). It had 2 big closets, plus a small closet each just for coats and storage. It was in a "walkable" neighborhood that I liked. Some of the views were pretty.

The 2nd bedroom was supposed to be my "study" --- I abandoned it after only a couple of months, though, because the loud-voiced asshole downstairs had his headquarters below and liked to yell for hours on end (at his wife? on the phone?). That room became basically a storage space for my desk and bookshelves and reading chair. Completely unusable.

Early on, I moved my laptop to the kitchen table at the front of the apartment, hoping to avoid the yelling-man from the back room. I did avoid his ugly voice 50% of the time, but unfortunately, he was mobile, and yelled across the apartment. What moving my computer to the front of the apartment got me was: An overlook to the parking lot. All the noise of the comings and goings, the late-night hangings-out, the skateboard practice, the motorcycle revving, the kids screeching and riding either trikes or skateboards up and down the walks in front of the doors of the apartments.

The punk next-door neighbor that was jamming out from 5am to 7am back in August/September/October has had his extreme impulses silenced by the apartment management, thank goodness. But he still likes to hang out in front of his apartment after midnight talking with his friends, watching videos on his iPhone (with all of my windows closed, I can still hear whatever he's listening to with his buddies). I've also had a couple of incidents with other non-direct-neighbor young partiers, asking them to please stop yelling, please stop blasting music with open windows, etc.

And then, of course, the numerous ceiling leaks. I got home from work today to yet another puddle on my kitchen floor after the rain-storm last night. Perhaps the 7th or 8th leak since Thanksgiving. (After the massive disaster in October of 2016, last year.) Every time, management has said that their maintenance man is "talking with the roofers." Disgusting, shameful incompetence.

Anyway, after the last leak in January, I got permission to get out of my lease early -- at the end of this April instead of at the end of August, per my original lease. (I didn't demand "immediately" because I didn't have enough deposit/moving money to get out immediately.)

Only 70 more days of this shit-hole.

One thing that I'm wary of when scouting out new places to live: I keep being suckered in by apartments that are reasonably priced and look GREAT in Craig's List photos. But what I've got to get into my head whenever I'm considering being cheap and saving a couple of hundred bucks per month: "YOU'RE PAYING FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS." I.e., "You're paying to keep certain people the hell away from you." My definition of "certain people" is based on behavior rather than on race: For instance, I don't want  to be around young white punk guys coming home and jamming at 5 in the morning; I don't want to be around young white hippies getting in screaming fights on landings and/or jamming their music at ANY hour; I don't want to hear the middle-aged black guy below me yelling at his wife at the top of his lungs; I don't want to hear the multiple kids of Hispanic families stuffed into tiny apartments allowed to run loose; I don't want to hear the white motorcycle dude revving his engine whenever he comes or goes.

It's time for ME to go. Pay the extra couple of hundred dollars per month (which I'm now able to do) AND move farther out, if need be. I now have a car and am not trapped by proximity to a bus-line --- take advantage of that: Buy some peace and quiet. (Oh yeah: And a place with a washer and dryer. I'm over 50; no more battling for a space to clean my clothes. I waited a whopping 4 WEEKS before doing laundry this past Sunday.)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Corporate Speech to Howard Beale in "Network"

"There is no West, only one multinational dominion....There is no America --- there is only IBM, ITT, ATT... The world is a college of corporations."


Donald Trump IS Howard Beale

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nostalgia for the campaign trail...

"Thank you, Babe. Be careful."

Trump is sexy. #1: He praises Kellyanne Conway for kicking ass. #2: He praises her for kicking ass for HIM, and he's grateful. #3: He affectionately calls her "babe" in public.

(Now, if a random asshole or dick calls you "babe" in a put-down, condescending way... that's when you get your feminist ire up. But not with a man you admire and who has just told the world that he admires you.)

As a send-off, Trump tells her to "be careful" on her way down the stairs. Which is incredibly sweet and sexy.

For example: I once had a terrible girlfriend; one of her redeeming qualities in my mind, though, is the fact that when we once drove together to a junkyard to get a part for her car, she told me to stay in the car because "I don't want those guys to look at you."

Or how 'bout: The winter after I came home from grad school in the '90s, I had nowhere to stay but at my brother's/girlfriend's place. Both me and his girlfriend (now wife) had to get to work on a day with semi-icy roads. My brother's girlfriend wanted to drive herself, but he insisted on driving for her --- the roads weren't safe. I had to make exactly the same "trek" on the same roads, but no one cared whether or not I made it safely. Both of us could have safely driven ourselves to work. But I thought it sweet of my brother for making such a big deal about driving his "woman" to work. (While simultaneously being depressed by the fact that I had no one to care about whether or not I made it anywhere safely.)

Trump's telling Kellyanne Conway to "be careful" while walking down a few stairs is gentlemanly and sweet.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Yes, I would, and yes, I am, astrocenter.com!

February 11, 2017

If you were able, you would transform all of your relationships with a wave of your magic wand. You have realized lately that you are bored! bored! bored! with some of the people close to you. Who wants to remain in relationships that no longer hold any surprises? The solution to this problem is in your hands. The time has come to go out and meet some new people...

Regina Spektor - The Light (Live 1/9/2017)

The light was shining in my eyes before I closed them
And all the dreams I had the night before came back
The faces that I'd seen looked so familiar
But they're just strangers, I haven't met them yet

I know the morning is wiser than the evening
I know that wrong and right can sometimes look the same
So many things I know, but they don't help me
Each day I open up my eyes and start again

The light comes shining in my eyes
The light comes shining in my eyes
The light comes shining in my eyes
The light comes shining in my eyes

So many stories I want to tell you
I wish that I could show you the many things I've seen
You and your daddy, you both look like poets
Your eyes are open wide while you are in a dream

I know the morning is wiser than the nighttime
I know there's nothing wrong, I shouldn't feel so down
So many things I know, but they don't help me
Each day I open up my eyes to look around

The sun comes shining in my eyes
The sun comes shining in my eyes
The sun comes shining in my eyes
The sun comes shining in my eyes

Are closed now
Count the stars inside your mind
Count the breaths, count heartbeats
Count the sounds of life

The light was shining in my eyes before I closed them
And all the dreams I had the night before were gone
The faces that I'd seen looked so familiar
But I forgot them all when I saw the sun

Thursday, February 09, 2017

What exactly is illegal?

U.S. Federal Code: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1182
(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. ...

I'm not sure what exactly about Trump's halting of travel to US from terrorist countries the 9th Circuit Court of the United States found illegal. Are you allowed to just make judicial decisions because you "feel" like it? Because all of your friends in Seattle wouldn't welcome you to their dinner parties any more should you actually make an intellectually-based, hard-core Constitutional decision?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Rep Maxine Waters (D -California) on Impeaching Trump

Maxine Waters has not "yet" called for the impeachment of Trump, although, according to her, he's responsible for (1) supplying bombs in Aleppo, and (2) supporting Putin in Korea.

(I will never again support a party with such idiots as spokespeople.)

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Regina Spektor - Older and Taller [Official Audio]

"Judging" vs "Fact-checking"

Holy crap! I just spent over 6 hours on Facebook (primarily on the New Yorker site) arguing about whether or not Donald Trump was a fascist! (Me: He's not. You don't know what fascism is. Hitler was a globalist, not a nationalist, ETC.) During this whole exchange, I was called all sorts of names, like "Republicunt" and "fascist" and "bigot" and "racist" and "troll" and "uneducated." Ideas were mostly forbidden.

Re "uneducated," I tried logic, saying that I had a Master's in English --- I was then told that I must have bought that degree. 

Re "troll" --- I tried pointing out that since I'd been a New Yorker subscriber for over 20 years, I could hardly be called a "troll" for commenting on their Facebook page. Nah, I was still a troll because I disagreed with the majority.

p.s. As I was writing the above, got a blip that someone was responding to something I'd written on the New Yorker site dismissing a Trump rumor because the New Yorker had gotten the info from BuzzFeed. The responder then said, "Who is the New Yorker to judge their news sources?"

Call me old school, but... in the olden days, "judging" was known as "fact-checking."

Another p.s.: A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from an acquaintance who wanted to talk about Trump: Anyone who liked Trump was a redneck, etc. That literally made my blood run cold. I'm that serious about intellectual honesty.

Tucker Carlson Interviews Milo Yiannopoulos After UC Berkeley Riots - 2/...

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World